Last week, the roof of the United Pentecostal Church in Minto, N.B., collapsed, leaving broken beams, splintered wood and shredded pink insulation scattered in the snow.
“I would have either been there or over by the piano, playing the piano — and the piano you can’t even see. It’s covered with the roof that fell in,” said the church’s pastor, Kevin Howe.
Howe is counting his blessings as others step up to help in a time of need. Just down the road, the United Baptist Church has opened its doors, offering space for a Sunday service.
“It just makes your heart feel funny, I guess, and it’s just amazing how people … in dire need, they’ll help you and they’re always there,” said Howe.
Luckily, the church was insured, but there’s no indication of when the building will be back up and running.
Meanwhile, the small congregation of 12 people has been invited to a neighbouring church.
Another United Pentecostal Church, this one in nearby Ripples, N.B., has also extended an invitation.
“We just felt that it’s a scripture requirement. He’s our brother and our fellow church so we just felt that it’s necessary to help them in any way we can,” said pastor Donald McCarty.
Many have come to check out the damage to the Minto church.
People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin, who was a religious minister in his former life, says he had the opportunity to oversee two funerals at the church. But he says there is no doubt the congregation will bounce back.
“You can tear down the walls but you can’t break the spirit of the people,” Austin said.
“They’re good people, and I’m sure they’ll get through this.”
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Howe — who had open heart surgery in 2017 as well as a gall bladder operation in 2018 and has now had his church’s roof collapse — says that he can’t believe the generosity of those around him.
“Maybe if I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck,” said Howe, laughing. “How people react and how they help you is just beyond words.”
He says he has a simple motto in his life: “Don’t worry, be happy.”
It’s a lesson that he hopes his small but mighty congregation can take to heart as they go forward.